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Discussion Starter #1
I use mite paper, I use ca powder to knock off the mites, i freeze the excelsior in freezer before using, i use repashy media, i keep in light bulb heated and air pump ventilated cabinet, i use clean and new plastic culturing containers ( commercial for culturing) , keep at about 75 degrees, now i think they dont have enough humidity and i am taping the covers to keep humidity up, I spend more time culturing and more money buying ffs than I want to keep track of, this is insane, I hope the higher humidity makes a difference, I am willing to bet more than one hobbyist has been driven out of the hobby by these problems, when I used to use coffee filters I had more success (maybe i should go back to those?). It shouldn't be this hard. Just had to vent. Anyone with foolproof methods. Yes, I do have mites, does anyone have any success using miticide that is sprayed into the cultures?
 

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I am relatively new to the hobby but have not had many problems with fruitflies (except some hydei. My melanos are always doing well).

I use excelsior as well, but I never freeze it. I keep it stored at room temperature. I also purchase media and store that at room temperature as well and just make cultures every two weeks since I dont have many frogs to feed.

I spray water on my cultures about one or twice a week depending on how dry the air in the apartment is. This is particularly true in the winter when the air seems to be drier. I dont cover the top of the cultures because I fear that i'd be suffocating the flies.

My cultures are kept at room temperature (about 68-75 degrees) and I dont have any lighting on them. I actually keep them in a relatively dark shelf.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I do order the cultures from a known vendor and they have had a lot of mites. I supppose thats part of the problem from the start.
 

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I only ordered flies twice when I was just getting the hang of cultures and stuff like that. I have had mites, but I usually just get rid of whatever culture has them to prevent them from spreading and what not.

I should also point out that I dont use mite spray or paper.

Do not let the fruitflies discourage you! Once you get the hang of things it isn't difficult!
 

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Idk what exactly the issue you are having is but it might just be best to dump what you have completely(container you have them in and all) and just order a completely new starter kit. I got mine at SeFruitFlies.
 

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Ive had horrible results with excelsior molding and ruining cultures....I just recently got my ff problems under control and it involved....going back to coffee filters, using a new media supplier (josh's), mixing the media properly, placing the cups on a shelf at the top of my room, and buying a heater from walmart that keeps the frog room around 75.

(No experience with mites....Dunno if i got em or not)

Also, a good rotation of cultures is necessary for success


tommy
 

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wow im sorry your having such problems. I feel like im kind of lazy with cultures and i get good(enough) results. I use a flaxseed/applesauce/oatmeal/vinegar recipe i cook up for flies, works well but mold can be an issue. i have never used mite paper or anything really to combat them other than rotating where i keep new cultures in the house, never keeping them near old cultures.

where do the larvae set up into pupae in the jar? an even spread of pupae is an indication of moisture level in the culture, if their all near the top, its to wet, if their all at the bottom or in the media its too dry. I use mason jars with lid band and paper towels/napkins.

as suggested maybe start over, possibly with another source of flies.
 

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I agree with the aboce comment saying try some new flies from someone else. I ordered from se recently and got a lot of cultures at a great price.

I only use excelsior. I tried my own media before but found I got better results using joshsfrogs media. If you think humidity is an issue...well lack of...you could always test a culture out in the bathroom that is used for showering. Seems silly but it will help increase humidity and temps compared to rest of house at random times throughout the day. And this is free to do....no extra lights....no extra work. Do it with a fresh mite free culture and it should stay that way.
 

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I use mite paper, I use ca powder to knock off the mites, i freeze the excelsior in freezer before using, i use repashy media, i keep in light bulb heated and air pump ventilated cabinet, i use clean and new plastic culturing containers ( commercial for culturing) , keep at about 75 degrees, now i think they dont have enough humidity and i am taping the covers to keep humidity up, I spend more time culturing and more money buying ffs than I want to keep track of, this is insane, I hope the higher humidity makes a difference, I am willing to bet more than one hobbyist has been driven out of the hobby by these problems, when I used to use coffee filters I had more success (maybe i should go back to those?). It shouldn't be this hard. Just had to vent. Anyone with foolproof methods. Yes, I do have mites, does anyone have any success using miticide that is sprayed into the cultures?
Okay.. are you having mites crashing the cultures or are you trying to keep the cultures totally mite free?

As noted by an other poster, you can check if there is enough humidity by where the pupae are being placed. If they are down very close to the surface of the media (or in it), then the cultures are too dry. If they are up close to the top, they are too wet.. if they are spread up to about halfway then it is close to just right.

I keep my cultures on the top shelf of one of my racks and the temperature ranges from up in the low 80s during the day to 68 at night in the winter... with consistent fly production. I have low but steady levels of mites and rotate out older cultures (I actually dry them out by placing them ontop of some T5HO fixtures over my plant grow out tank and then pop out the leftover dry materials and clean the containers and lids) and keep them on mite paper so they don't touch...

I use excelsior for my cultures with no issues with mold (or mites). Several years ago I got a 28 lb compressed block and I store it in two seperate rubber maid totes. I get a compressed flake and store it with my culturing supplies in a smaller rubbermaid sweater box....

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #10
ed, do the flies compete with the mites for space and food? i have little production and the cultures are drying out so i believe that humidity being too low is part of the problem. I did have more success in the past using coffee filters, the flies seem to get trapped under the excelsior and are harder to get out it seems. I keep the flies cultures in a rubbermaid cabinet with lights for heat source and a large air pump inside to pump air for inside cabinet to the garage as my wife complained about a strong earthy smell upstairs (everything is in the basement) and now that smell is no longer an issue. all i can do is keep trying but its so frustrating. There are many mites in the culture but i think they are crashing from low humidity since i have a dehumidifier in the basement also.
 

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ed, do the flies compete with the mites for space and food?
I like to think about it the other way around.. ;). It depends on the mites, grain mites compete with the flies for the food, but there are other types of mites that do feed on the eggs, larva or the adult flies themselves.

i have little production and the cultures are drying out so i believe that humidity being too low is part of the problem.
This can really impact the production. Have to tried making the cultures a little wetter to offset it (I generally do this in the winter). One of the ways to tell if the cultures are getting too dry is not only the placement of the pupae but the size of the flies. If you are seeing the smaller adults then the media is too dry.

I did have more success in the past using coffee filters, the flies seem to get trapped under the excelsior and are harder to get out it seems.
This typically is the result of using too much excelsior. Reduce the amount you are using. In reality, the main purpose of the excelsior is to prevent the adults from drowning in the wet media. If you have it in cultures currently tap the cultures and give the flies a couple of minutes and you will find them all climbing to the top of the cultures. Tap them off the top and then into your collection container.

my wife complained about a strong earthy smell upstairs (everything is in the basement) and now that smell is no longer an issue. all i can do is keep trying but its so frustrating. .
So your pulling air in from the basement into the cabinet and then out into the garage? If your humidity is low in the basement then your drawing dry air over the cultures which will cause them to dry out more quickly. You may need to add a little water to the cultures during the lifespan of the cultures. Drier conditions may also be better for the mites than the flies.

as for the smell, try some of the Superfly and see how that smells to you.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #12
thanks, i appreciate the suggestions and they make sense to me. I will let you know how it works out. So you are saying that only a small amount of excelsior is needed? I never really noticed many pupae on the wood fibers and now i understand why if its mainly to keep adults from drowing. Thanks again.
 

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thanks, i appreciate the suggestions and they make sense to me. I will let you know how it works out. So you are saying that only a small amount of excelsior is needed? I never really noticed many pupae on the wood fibers and now i understand why if its mainly to keep adults from drowing. Thanks again.
The culture doesn't need a huge amount of excelsior. I simply wad some up into a ball and push it into the media a little. ..

Ed
 
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